Nursing Home Neglect
Bed Sores in the Nursing Home
Bed sores occur far too often in nursing home residents who are confined to a bed or wheelchair due to their acute illness. According to Nursing Home Compare, 11.6% of residents are at high risk of developing bed sores. Other studies report that the incidence of bed sores on standard mattresses or foam overlays is as high as 24%. Bed sores are significantly indicative of quality in nursing homes due to their high association with quality of life, the risk of future comorbidities and hospitalizations, and death. At the same time, they are preventable with the right nursing care or treatable with appropriate behavioral or pharmacological therapies.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) deem bed sores as one of the 14 quality measures for long-term care residents. Although some quality measures have improved in the last few years, such as pain management and the decreased use of physical restraints, other measures, that include bed sores, have shown very little improvement. The prevalence of bed sores has remained relatively high and unchanged over time.
Preventing the onset of bed sores is a critical characteristic of improving quality long-term care. Patients susceptible to bed sores must be given effective skilled nursing intervention that includes, but is not limited to, close monitoring, timely repositioning, appropriate dressing, and special bedding to ensure prevention of bed sores or to promote healing to existing ulcers. Evidence has shown that pressure redistribution foam mattresses (i.e. cubed foams, visco-elastic foam, and high-density foams) significantly decrease bed sore incidence. Furthermore, proper nutrition supplementation has also been shown to decrease bed sore risk by enhancing tissue tolerance to pressure and oxygen shortage.
Many studies prove that repositioning (i.e. turning the body to alter its position to relieve or redistribute pressure) is also a fundamental component of bed sore prevention and treatment. Bed sores develop due to localized vascular obstruction that decreases capillary blood flow to the skin surface area. Nursing home staff must reposition patients who are bedbound in order to minimize the risk of oxygen deprivation and nutrients necessary for the repair of tissue.
It is the nursing homes’ responsibility to take necessary steps to protect their patients from debilitating illnesses such as bed sores. Not only must they must maintain adequate staffing levels, they must ensure that their staff is properly trained in order to identify early onset of bed sores and perform subsequent treatment protocols. The development of bed sores while under nursing home care can be indicative of elder neglect. If you believe that your loved one is a victim of neglect by a nursing home, contact us immediately for a free consultation. At the Law Offices of Ben Yeroushalmi, we believe that the occurrence of preventable bed sores is reprehensible. We will strive to obtain a just resolution and, if necessary, take your case to trial.